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Panasonic G6 versus Panasonic GH4

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2013 and February 2014. Both the G6 and the GH4 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic G6 vs Panasonic GH4

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic G6 and the Panasonic GH4 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the G6 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic G6 vs Panasonic GH4
Compare G6 versus GH4 top
Compare G6 and GH4 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GH4 is notably larger (19 percent) than the Panasonic G6. Moreover, the GH4 is substantially heavier (44 percent) than the G6. It is noteworthy in this context that the GH4 is splash and dust-proof, while the G6 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the G6 gets 340 shots out of its DMW-BLC12 battery, while the GH4 can take 500 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLF19 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G6» 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GH4« 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i
Olympus E-M1« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Panasonic G85« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i
Panasonic GH3« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.2 in 19.4 oz 540 Y Sep 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic G5« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GH2« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 3.0 in 15.6 oz 330 n Sep 2010 1,499- i
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the GH4, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic G6 vs Panasonic GH4

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic G6 and Panasonic GH4 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the G6 and the GH4 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GH4 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the G6, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

G6 versus GH4 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the GH4 offers substantially better image quality than the G6 (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic G6» Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic GH4« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
Panasonic G85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870
Panasonic GH3« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p22.712.481271
Panasonic G5« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Panasonic GH2« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60i21.211.365560
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GH4 provides a better video resolution than the G6. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the G6 is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G6 vs Panasonic GH4

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GH4 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the G6 (2359k vs 1440k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic G6, the Panasonic GH4, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic G6»1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GH4«2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y
Panasonic G85« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y
Panasonic GH3« »1746 n 3.0 614 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic G5« »1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic GH2« »1534 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n

Both the G6 and the GH4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G6 was replaced by the Panasonic G7, while the GH4 was followed by the Panasonic GH5.

Review summary: Panasonic G6 vs Panasonic GH4

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G6 and the Panasonic GH4? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6:

  • More compact: Is smaller (122x85mm vs 133x93mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 170g or 30 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2013).


Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 1440k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH4 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

G6 04:10 GH4

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the G6 and the GH4 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G6»HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic GH4«HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i
Olympus E-M1« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Panasonic G85« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i
Panasonic GH3« »HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 1,299- i
Panasonic G5« »HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GH2« »HiRec79/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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